A very large family, with distinctive characteristics; widely distributed. Ours are herbs or low shrubs, generally aromatic, with usually square and hollow stems; leaves opposite, with no stipules; flowers perfect, irregular, in clusters, usually with bracts; calyx usually five-toothed, frequently two-lipped; corolla more or less two-lipped, upper lip usually with two lobes, lower lip with three; stamens usually four, in pairs, on the corolla-tube, alternate with its lobes; ovary superior, with four lobes, separating when ripe into four, small, smooth, one-seeded nutlets, surrounding the base of the two-lobed style, like the four nutlets of the Borage Family, but the flowers of the latter are regular. These plants are used medicinally and include many herbs used for seasoning, such as Sage, Thyme, etc.
There are a few kinds of Micromeria; trailing perennials; flowers small; calyx tubular, with five teeth; corolla two-lipped, with a straight tube; stamens four, all with anthers, not protruding. The Greek name means "small."